Let’s go to the movies – Friday October 19 – October 25, 2012

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Now playing in Pattaya

Finding Nemo 3D: Australia/ US, Animation/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family – The brilliant Pixar film, Academy Award winner in 2004 for best animated feature, updated with 3D and refurbished sound.  Critics say the new sound and 3D simply adds to the greatness that is Nemo.  Original 2003 reviews: Universal acclaim.  In 3D (English) and only at Pattaya Beach.  Another chance to see a classic as it was meant to be seen.  A funny and touching story, superb visuals, wonderful characters.  See it! 

Looper: US, Action/ Sci-Fi – A much anticipated Sci-Fi movie starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a mob hitman who assassinates targets that arrive blindfolded from the future.  For him it’s just a job … till a new target he receives turns out to be himself from the future.  He hesitates, resulting in the escape of his older self.  Also stars Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt.

Rated R in the US for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity, and drug content; 18+ in Thailand.  Reviews: Universal acclaim, calling it as thought-provoking as it is thrilling, and delivers an uncommonly smart, bravely original blend of futuristic sci-fi and good old-fashioned action.  A 2D film playing in English at Pattaya Beach and Major; Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Yak: The Giant King: Thai, Animation/ Adventure – Now the top box office draw in Thailand, this delightful Thai animated film is loosely based on the Ramayana epic, told through the adventures of a couple of tin robots.  Another large step forward for Thai animation.  It’s from a highly successful pop-oriented producing company famous for fashioning numerous hit TV series that are usually derided by critics – shows like “Thailand’s Got Talent.”  But Prapas Cholsaranon – one of the chief creative geniuses of the company – is a sort of Renaissance man who writes fiction and non-fiction, composes songs, directs plays, and has a definite vision for Thai pop culture.  He is one of the two driving forces behind this film, the other being the chief animator, Chaiyaporn Panichrutiwong, trained at US animation studios, and the chief draftsman of the film.  An innovative and distinctly Thai film.  It’s a 2D film, in Thai, with English subtitles, except Thai only at Big C.

The two creators have an interesting comment on the film’s suitability for children. While “Yak” is an animation, both Chaiporn and Prapas admit that it might not be suitable for a very young audience.  “The tone is more ‘Harry Potter’,” says Chaiporn.  “The story has different layers of ideas that are suitable for adults but can entertain kids also.  Young children shouldn’t be brought to see it. In any case, watching any film in a theatre is wrong for that age because the sound is just too loud,” Prapas says.

Sinister: US, Horror/ Thriller – Found footage helps a true-crime novelist realize how and why a family was murdered in his new home, though his discoveries put his entire family in the path of a supernatural entity.  Stars Ethan Hawke, James Ransone, and Juliet Rylance.  Rated R in the US for disturbing violent images and some terror; 18+ in Thailand.  Mixed or average reviews, saying its plot hinges on typically implausible horror-movie behavior and recycles countless genre cliches, but nevertheless delivers a surprising number of fresh, diabolical twists.  A 2D film playing at Pattaya Beach only, in English.

My Name is Love: Thai, Drama/ Romance – A bad boy falls for the girl next door, but he isn’t sure if she would accept his love as he once rejected her love when they were young.  Stars Arak Amornsupasiri.  A 2D film in Thai with English subtitles at all locations.

End of Watch: US, Crime/ Drama/ Mystery/ Thriller – I think probably the best cop-buddy film I’ve seen.  And it’s much more – could be considered a sociological study, raising questions about the shaky structure of society and the pros and cons of even having law enforcement.  It’s my upbringing for sure, but I truly felt assaulted by the language – there were stretches of dialogue in which 99% of the words were profanity – for a total of 325 uses of the “f” word (according to an organization that counts this sort of thing), nearly 100 uses of the “s” word, and scads of other obscenities, vulgarities, profanities, and epithets, in English and Spanish.

Stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña.  Rated R in the US for strong violence, some disturbing images, pervasive language including sexual references, and some drug use; 18+ here.  Generally favorable reviews, saying that thanks to its energy, devotion to characters, and charismatic performances, the film overcomes the familiar pitfalls of both its genre and its handheld format to become a fresh and exciting thriller.  David Ayer’s latest cop-drama is gritty, violent, and full of perfect moments of flawlessly recreated reality.  Now playing only at Major, in 2D (English).  If you can stand the language, it’s really quite excellent.

Taken 2: France, Action/ Crime/ Drama/ Thriller – Liam Neeson returns as a retired CIA agent who stops at nothing to save his daughter from Albanian kidnappers.  Directed by Olivier Megaton (Colombiana), it’s a sequel to the 2008 film of the same name.  Mixed or average reviews, saying it’s largely bereft of the kinetic thrills and surprises that made the original a hit.  A cynical, contemptuous film whose sole reason for existing appears to be to squeeze the pockets of anyone who enjoyed the first movie.

Those seemingly in the know claim that the fine film this was, originally, mostly lies on the cutting room floor, as the filmmakers tried for a less restrictive rating and broader audience.  In 2D (English) at all locations, with Big C showing another regular 2D version (Thai-dubbed).

Stolen: US, Action/ Thriller – A former thief (Nicolas Cage) frantically searches for his missing daughter, who has been kidnapped and locked in the trunk of a taxi.  Rated R in the US for some violence and brief language.  Directed by Simon West (The Expendables 2).

Early reviews: generally negative, saying that the longest stretch of logical plotting lasts about forty seconds, and the deep-rooted silliness makes it hard to take anything in the film seriously.  But Nicolas Cage does do his thing about ordering people around, yelling that people’s lives are at stake, and lots of people always like that, because we can’t get away with that in real life, and it’s refreshing.  In 2D (English) at Pattaya Beach; 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Big C.

Dredd: US/ UK/ India, Action/ Sci-Fi – On the East Coast of the future America, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets.  The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury, and instant executioner.  Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd is the ultimate Judge.

I loved the art direction and scene design, which I thought extraordinary.  I truly enjoyed the experiments in slow-motion photography; some sequences were really exceptionally beautiful.  But not the ripping apart of human bodies; not the splattering of blood.  That, I really believe, have been censored.  Rated R in the US for strong bloody violence, language, drug use, and some sexual content; 18+ in Thailand.  Mixed or average reviews.  Now shown in 2D (English) at Pattaya Beach and Major; no longer at Big C.

Bait: Australia, Action/ Horror/ Thriller – It’s your average “trapped in a supermarket with a shark” movie.  Yes, believe it or not a group of people get trapped in a supermarket after a tsunami hits the coast of Queensland, Australia, and soon find out that there’s a 12 foot shark that’s been washed into the basement, and it’s hungry.  Rated R in the US for bloody violence, some grisly images, and language; 18+ here.  Mixed or average reviews (Rotten Tomatoes) – “a shark tale that’s poorly executed yet charmingly absurd.”  Shown now only in 2D (Thai-dubbed), and only at Big C.

Resident Evil 5: Retribution: Germany/ Canada, Action/ Horror/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – I saw it in 2D and I think the settings are superb, and the visuals in general at the cutting edge of filmmaking.  Other than that, it’s basically just action, with a minimum of story and character.  If you enjoyed the previous films, especially Resident Evil 4, you should enjoy this, and the next one yet to come, as they are simply more of the same.  Only with ever-better graphics.

Silly and empty-headed it is indeed, and you will shake your head in disbelief at what you’re asked to swallow.  However, there are stretches where the movie craft lulls you into a mesmerizing half-trance in which the succession of fantastic and imaginative images can be a rather enjoyable experience.

Rated R in the US for sequences of strong violence throughout. Generally unfavorable reviews.  Shown now only in 2D, in English at Pattaya Beach and Major, Thai-dubbed at Big C.